During the recent earthquake in Nepal, a Singapore startup’s technology made a difference. Some international rescue teams relied on solar power chargers made by the startup to run their mobile phones and laptops.
When emergencies occur, communications is vital, said Mr V S Hariharan, co-founder of the company Third Wave Power. “We hope that in time, low-cost solar chargers providing renewable power could be included in first-aid kits for victims of natural disasters so that they can get help and stay connected.”
Solar-powered chargers, some with built-in radios and emergency lights, also serve as a vital back-up during disasters. “In the US areas for example, some areas are prone to tornadoes, said Mr Hariharan. “Japan and New Zealand which face the threat of earthquakes and power outages are also turning to solar energy as a reliable form of renewable portable power.”
“In India for example, more people own handphones than landlines, but still many do not have ready access to power. So we started a pilot scheme in which local entrepreneurs can get these solar kits devices for about US$50. These can charge power banks which are rented out to consumers for as low as five rupees (10 cents) for a battery charge. This is part of our aim of democratising power and making it available and affordable to anyone, anywhere,” said Mr Hariharan.